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Easter Egg Hunt at Rancho Santa Ana, March 1939by Eddie Castro,
Between Times April 2006 pages 5-6
All children of employees and non-employees who lived in the immediate area of the Ranch Santa Ana were invited to this great fun day. The area where the picnic was held was known as the lower botanical garden and assembly area. Young plants in pots or in the ground were started in this area. There were many trees and one very large sycamore tree. Under this tree, picnic tables were set up for party-goers. There were some parking spaces and rest rooms with red tile roofs. It was a very well-manicured area. It was located just below where our "Historical Museum" is located now, or better yet, where the fire station is located now. So it was next to most worker's housing. On this beautiful Easter Sunday morning, all our family was very excited and of course we kids, all five of us, got up extra early to get ourselves looking our best. We knew that the assembly area had been cleaned extra nice by ranch workers all week long. Bushes, trees, and all plants had been trimmed so the whole area was in perfect shape.
This Easter egg hunt was the first for the Castro family, so we did not know what it was all about, even though the kids who had been living on the Ranch longer than we had told us about these egg hunts. Boy, were we in for a surprise when our family arrived at the picnic area around 11:00 A.M., my Dad, Pedro, my mother, Victoria, and 2 girls and 3 boys. It was really very nice. We were met by the Superintendent of the Ranch, Ernest Johnson, and all the hellos followed. Mrs. Susanna Bixby Bryant was there under this majestic sycamore tree. She was walking around and shaking all the kids' hands and she introduced herself to all who were present. She was just a great person. She was just so happy to see these children all dressed in their best clothes for this great Easter egg hunt. (Most kids did not wear shoes. Mom and Dad told us it was not necessary as it was like another day at the Ranch.) We were happy and so was Mrs. Bryant.
Owen and Kathleen Johnson, son and daughter of Superintendent Ernest Johnson and his wife were helpers with setting the tables, table decor, etc. All looked really beautiful. I remember very well the camping stove where "hot dogs," were cooked and kept warm in a large pot.
Our family had never seen anything like this. In fact, this was the first time in our young lives that we had ever heard of "hot dogs" let alone eat one! And there were other things at the picnic which were a "first" like dry ice to keep the ice cream frozen. We even got burned when we touched it because we did not believe that ice being cold could burn your fingers!
As all the kids from the Ranch and also kids from the sections house near "Horse Shoe Be arriving at about noon time, and children whose parents did not live in the Ranch were little by little, the party kept getting bigger and bigger. What fun it was. I remember all the  happiness, all the kids running around, and the parents sitting on folding chairs and visiting each other, drinking pop out of bottles.
"The Party Starts"
All the kids were rounded up as it was time to eat! We lined up and for the first time in my life, I was now 11 years old, I was served on a paper plate a white bun with a so called "hot dong." What fun it was a wienie on a white bun, potato chips, some kind of salad, and a bottle of soda pop! All the children sat on chairs. On tables, which were decorated with beautiful paper covers, were what seemed like piles of Easter eggs. All the children were served first, then, all the adults were served. You talk about fun, it was just great! Mrs. Susanna Bixby Bryant was at the serving table. She had a very nice smile for all as she handed out the paper plates and napkins. What a wonderful lady she was.
And all this time as we were eating "hot dogs", a group of people were doing something else. I don't remember when this group of people slipped away from the crowd. They had to hide the Easter eggs in and around the picnic area. When we were finished eating, all the children were lined up and big paper bags were passed around and instructions were given on where to hunt for Easter eggs. A whistle was blown and we took off like jackrabbits looking for Easter eggs. Wow! I had never seen so many candy eggs in my life. We all collected full bags of Easter eggs. And we started eating as we ran from bush to bush, lots and lots of eggs. Another blast of the whistle and the hunt was over. We dragged our bags of Easter eggs to the picnic tables, where all bags were dumped on table tops and counted. I remember Owen and Kathleen Johnson were counting eggs and names were written on bags with the number of eggs found. We were all laughing and eating Easter eggs all this time. After all this counting, prizes were given to the person who had the biggest eggs. Sizes were very small, small, medium, large, and very large. And, what beautiful colors they were—pink, blue, red, and yellow. I don't remember who won the egg hunting contest or how many gifts were handed out, but one thing I remember very well was that I ate so many Easter eggs that now, 66 years later, I have never eaten another Easter egg!
“Now, Dessert Time"
After the egg hunt and all that fun, were told to line up again and told to put our bags away because now were going to have dessert. A big ice box was moved by servers and it was loaded with little paper cups with great tasting vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate ice cream as well as little wooden spoons. After all the candy Easter eggs and now ice cream, it was a wonder we didn't get sick. Mrs. Bryant was walking around and checking to see if we wanted more ice cream, etc. She was a great and caring person. I later thought of her on many occasions if we would see her in her big black limousine. She would wave at us with her white handkerchief through her rolled down bar window.
1942 was the last time the Easter Egg Hunt was held in:
“Rancho Santa Ana”
“Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden”
“Rancho Canon de Santana”
“Santa Ana Ranch.” 
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